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What is Linguistics?
Linguistics is the study and practice of understanding how languages form and evolve. Individuals in the field will be responsible for understanding and identifying various aspects of a given language, including constructing and referencing ancient and dead languages for the purposes of research and reconstruction. Individuals may find employment in a variety of fields based on their focus and level and education. Linguistics also incorporates a variety of other disciplines, such as history, anthropology, and sociology to better understand the nature of language.
Students studying linguistics will at minimum have to earn a bachelor's degree, though specialization in a given area of linguistics, particularly focusing on a specific language or language tree will be pursued at the master and doctoral level. An education in linguistics will involve in depth understanding and education in how languages are formed and spread. Students will research the various aspects of language, including morphology, syntax, phonetics and more. Higher level degrees will focus on more specific areas, focusing on specific aspects of language and allow for analyses and research.
A curriculum in linguistics may include:
- Linguistic Theory
- Evolution of Language
- History and Language
- Comparative Linguistics
Employment Opportunities and Job Growth
Individuals specializing in linguistics, or one of its subfields will find employment opportunities available in a variety of fields, including education, translation, research, forensics and more. Individuals will have more opportunities at higher education levels. Specialization also allows individuals to pursue research opportunities through grants offered by the government or through research universities. Linguistics is an growing field that utilizes new techniques and technologies to better track and define how and why languages form and evolve, though growth in the field is limited due the time investment in education and limited practical applications.
Salary and Related Fields
Salaries for linguists will vary greatly based on field and position, but will be higher for educated and experienced researchers and professors, and lower among individuals who have earned a bachelor's degree only and pursue limited opportunities available at that level. The national average for a linguist is between $40,000 and $80,000 annually.
Individuals interested in linguistics may be also be interested in applied linguistics, comparative literature, and language interpretation and translation.